Strong competition among auto insurers and consumers purchasing more smaller vehicles that cost less to repair will help keep insurance premiums down for many drivers this year, according to a Wall Street Journal report. A recent report by the Insurance Information Institute estimates that the average rate consumers will spend on auto insurance in 2006 will rise only $4, or 0.5 percent from last year, to $867. This is compared to last year’s insurance rates, which climbed 2.5 percent, according to the WSJ report. In addition, the report found that consumers who drive the same vehicle and maintain a clean driving record will see their insurance premiums actually go down an estimated $25 to $50 this year. The institute determines the average policy premium by adding up all premiums paid nationwide and dividing by the number of cars insured.